In response to Feb. 24 issue of The Chronicle

By Letter to the Editor, by Debbie Hillman

I happened to pick up the Feb. 24 issue of The Chronicle at the Chicago-Main Newsstand in Evanston and really enjoyed reading the entire issue. I plan on making it a regular habit from now on.

One article caught my eye because it speaks to a major reason why we are so bad at solving our regional problems: We don’t think regionally.

Specifically, the article on “Grocery chains acquire vacant Dominick’s stores” on Page 37 deals only with empty stores within the city of Chicago, not the suburban Dominick’s stores that also closed.

Curiously, the article was in the Metro section, which by definition is something bigger than the city.

I would love for a newspaper like The Chronicle to cover such issues on a truly metropolitan scale. The suburbs and the city are intertwined in ways that most politicians and rich people don’t want us to see. Just covering Cook County as Cook County—Chicago and approximately 125 suburbs—would explicate how the power and financial brokers use the rest of us to set up constant schemes to maintain the status quo.

These are some other metropolitan Chicago food-and-farm questions:

Another truly metro food question might be why the Cook County Department of Public Health killed the nationwide food council ordinance that it commissioned with federal money? I was a member of the Cook County Food System Steering Committee that was commissioned to draft a food council ordinance. Two years later, I’m still waiting for a real answer.

Another truly metro food question might be why the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning is lagging behind on implementing its first food recommendation—to promote local sustainable foods, one of 12 recommendations in its “Go to 2040 Plan.” I was also on the advisory committee for writing that recommendation.

If anyone wants to write about these issues—or other food, farm & democracy issues in the Chicago area—I’d be happy to talk to anyone from The Chronicle. I am a co-founder of four different Chicago-area farm and food supply organizations, including the Evanston Food Council, The Talking Farm, the Illinois Local Food and Farm Coalition and the Illinois Local Food, Farms and Jobs Council.

I look forward to reading all future issues and learning more about how the advertising, marketing and journalism majors will coexist in one department. It might be a good move.